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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL)

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Minnesota House DFL Releases Jobs & Local Projects and Critical Economic Development Legislation

Monday, July 13, 2020

SAINT PAUL, Minn.— Today, the House DFL released a Jobs and Local Projects — also known as bonding — and tax proposal. The critically-needed economic development legislation contains $1.8 billion in public safety and health renovations, repairs, and replacement of public assets like higher education institutions, clean water infrastructure, correctional facilities, roads and bridges, parks and trails, municipal buildings and more. The bill would create approximately 27,540 jobs according to a revised 2015 model from the Bureau of Economic Analysis at the U.S. Department of Commerce

A copy of the proposal can be found here. A spreadsheet of the projects included is available here. The bill will receive a public remote hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday.

“Many of the projects contained in this proposal today are the direct results of what we saw and heard on our statewide tours,” said Chair Mary Murphy (DFL-Hermantown). “We are responding to the emergencies of today, and I’m hopeful we can deliver more sorely needed investments in a future session to prepare us for the needs of tomorrow.”

There were over $5.2 billion in capital investment requests that went through the Minnesota Management and Budget application process in 2019, and billions more that did not go through the process. There were $3.7 billion in state agency requests and $1.3 billion in direct requests from local governments. 

Notably, the new bill released today contains $116 million to fund affordable housing projects. For the first time in legislative history, $30 million is being allocated to projects to help improve and promote equity in communities across the state. 

“The need to invest in our public infrastructure is urgent, as are the jobs that would be created with the projects contained in this bill,” said Rep. Fue Lee (DFL – Minneapolis), Vice Chair of the House Capital Investment Division. “I’m particularly proud of the strong equity component of this legislation, which will ensure projects important to communities of color and Indigenous communities receive the funding they deserve. This legislation invests in clean water, affordable housing, safe transportation infrastructure, and preservation of our lands, history, and heritage. I’m hopeful we can all come together to pass it.”

“At a time when Minnesota's economy is suffering extreme stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that the state legislature do everything it can to create jobs and stimulate economic growth," said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. "This bill will create jobs and provide projects our communities need."

Additional investments in the proposal fund critical needs for communities statewide that provide clean water, repair roads and bridges, build more efficient public transit, connect people to local businesses and increases tourism opportunities, provide functional space for crucial agriculture and health research, modernize public safety facilities, support innovative job skills training programs for critical industries including healthcare and technical skills, and help kids get safety to school. 

“We are in the middle of a recession, and we know that people are hurting from the impact of COVID-19. This legislation is our chance to help in a way that safely creates statewide economic activity,” said House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “Investing in jobs and local projects now will quicken our economic recovery and help Minnesotans thrive for generations. Republicans need to join us in passing a robust jobs and local projects bill.”

Much of the proposal contributes to the state’s COVID-19 response with projects such as lab improvements for Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the State Emergency Operation Center, National Guard Readiness Centers, and Anoka-Ramsey Community College’s nursing department.

House DFL lawmakers also plan to advance a tax bill that addresses the lack of Section 179 Conformity in the 2019 Special Session Tax Bill. Section 179 allows businesses and farmers to deduct certain property costs from income taxes in the first year of investment, rather than over five years. This is advantageous when making large capital investments.

“This special session is a new opportunity to level the playing field for Minnesota taxpayers,” said Rep. Paul Marquart (DFL-Dilworth), Chair of the Tax Committee. “We’re talking about the mom and pop stores, the multi-generation family farmer, the Minnesotans who work hard for a living and contribute to their local communities. Those are the people the Legislature needs to be looking out for in the time of COVID-19.”